Spiders/ants in and Around Sandbox!!

Updated on April 26, 2010
B.C. asks from Arlington, TX
9 answers

We have wolf/grass spiders and black and in the summer, red ants at the base of the sandbox. We have found SO many spiders in there!
Obviously we don't want to use poison in such a kid-friendly area. Anyone else have this issue? We keep it covered when not in use, but it's loose. Any suggestions?

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answers from Dallas on

go to dirtdoctor.com and get the receipe for the garlic pepper tea. It is organic. It does repel bugs, you just have to be consistent in spraying it down especially after rain.

Take Care,

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answers from Houston on

Hi B.,
I live in Texas too. I hate to say it, but, I think your only answer is to get rid of the sand, treat the area in your yard and start with fresh sand. I mean, how else are you going to get rid if them?

Its better to be safe than sorry!!!

Margaret, Mom to B. :)



answers from Los Angeles on

Corn meal is supposed to help get rid of ants. They eat and it expands in their stomachs and die. I would sprinkle some around the sandbox. Not sure what to do about the spiders. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural insect repellent - maybe try that.



answers from Los Angeles on

You will probably want to dump the old sand and clean the sand box and get new sand. Don't know about Texas but when we were in Florida( also a state with colossal sized insects lol) I found a company by the name of SafePest that used organic products that were safe for kids and pets. You didn't even have to leave the room while they treated the area. I had them treat our property inside and out every few months and it kept things pretty well under control. There may be a similar company in your area.



answers from Dallas on

Don't trust any advice from exterminator. There are about 10,000 synthetic chemicals used to create stuff from cosmetics to bug sprays. 89% of them have NEVER been tested for safety. Europe has banned about 1000 of these chemicals as known carcinogens - - while the U.S. has banned only 9. ((www.teensturninggreen.com >> Get Educated >> Dirty Thirty)) Diazinon was used in all of my neighbors' yards when my kids were little. I tried to keep them away from the grass of their friends' houses, but it was impossible. Diazinon was finally banned in the U.S., because a link to childhood leukemia was found. But all retailers like Home Depot were allowed to sell off any remaining product - - after it had been banned. They didn't want to lose money by destroying the product. Money was priority over kids' health. So, my advice is avoid any and all pesticides in yard and home, especially for the children's sake. Their ratio of skin surface to body weight is much higher than adults', therefore, any toxin they absorb through their skin is likely to affect their little bodies more. I liked the advice of two moms: Clean out the old sand, replace with new sand, and staple the mosquito netting all around with an overlapped slit for kids to get in and out. P.S. I like to have wolf spiders around. When I see one, I let it live, because they eat crickets! They are wonderful mamas, too. They carry their babies on their backs. And the black jumping spiders with white polka dots? They are great at catching flies! My mother kept one as a "pet" in her kitchen window. Anytime one of us kids left the back screen door ajar and fly got into her kitchen, she'd open the window, let the fly go next to the screen, then close the window. Her spider would take care of it. No RAID necessary! The only two spiders we need to worry about here in N Texas are brown recluses and black widows. Brown recluses will most likely be in cardboard boxes in your garage or under blankets or clothes left on the floor. Black widows build globby webs up under outdoor structures, away from weather. Early settlers learned to check under outhouse seats before sitting down.



answers from Minneapolis on

Our sandbox is a wooden frame with a canopy/sun shade roof over it. When the ants and spiders started moving in, we took the canopy tarp off, and draped a mosquito net purchased from a camping goods/supply shop and over the frame, and around the sides.

To anchor it in so it wouldn't blow away, and bugs can't get inside, we power stapled it very tightly around the sandbox....leaving an opening/ slit on side so the kids could get in and out, but nothing else. The opening overlaps so the kids have to pull the netting apart to climb in, but it snaps closed once they're inside. Be sure not to staple inside the box if the edges also serve as seats. We put the original canopy tarp back on top, over the netting. Since you can't tie it down with the netting, we used the power stapler to mount the tarp to the roof-frame.

We've done this for the last 3 years and it works perfectly. When bad weather moves in, no problem. It weathers fine.

The first few days you may find a spider or two in the box. But with time, if there's no entry point from the ground into the sandbox, the bugs will no longer be a problem and new ones won't get in.

If you do clean out the sand, and you have no foundation in your sandbox, put one in, like a wood board, or landscaping fabric and staple it tightly to the box frame to close off any critter's possible entry from the ground up before putting the fresh sand inside.

Yikes! Wolf spiders!



answers from Dallas on

I would try Ortho Home Defense around the outside of the sandbox. I use this around the outside perimeter of our home, as well as along the walls inside. It is odorless and safe when dry. (It may be safe when wet, too, but I keep the kids away until dry anyway). It's not an organic pesticide, but works great and should deter pests from entering the box and might even get rid of any that have already made their way in. Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

Put a bag of Cedarside mulch down in the bottom, then sand.



answers from Denver on

Hi B. - TX is a far cry from Colorado when it comes to bugs but I would imagine that an exterminator could give you some suggestions for kid-safe products to use for ants and spiders. We had a red-ant problem that started at our neighbors and after a summer expanded to our garage and then our back patio. We hired someone who blew in a powdery substance into the cracks. It sticks to the ants and they take it back to the nest and eventually kills the whole underground population. I'm sure they will have some sort of solution for a sandbox area.

btw - this wont help for your sandbox but we installed some of those sonic repellents for bugs and mice, etc in our basement and garage. Works like a charm. The voles left right away. The bugs take a season because the sound disrupts their egg fertilization. The next season our garage was cricket and spider free.